Jazz Up and Organize Your Inbox With Color Categories

Tired of looking at the same ole Outlook 2007 Inbox every day? Use your favorite colors to organize it and spice it up a bit! After all, looks are the most important thing, aren’t they?

By the way, this article is about color coding emails, but you can apply similar techniques to color coding your Calendar.

First a security tip. Are you able to read an email when you click one time on its title? If so, sobitech ¬†you probably have the Reading Pane on. Having your Reading Pane on is dangerous. It means your email is essentially open. You might catch a virus if the email has one. In other words, you should turn off your Reading Pane. Here’s how:

1. Click on “View” on the menu bar at the top of your screen.
2. Scroll down to where it says “Reading Pane.”
3. Click on Off.

Now the fun part. You can assign your emails to categories such as work, fun, etc. Each category is represented by a different color. So first let’s assign them colors:

1. Click on the Categorize button at the top of your screen. The button is located to the right of the Forward button, and to the left of the Send/Receive button. It’s comprised of four little colored squares.
2. Click on “All Categories” near the bottom of the menu.

You can choose any categories you want. Each will be represented by a different color. For instance, my “work” category is orange, and my “fun” category is red.

3. Pick a color you want to use for your first category, and click one time on the text to the right of it.
4. Click “Rename” on the right.
5. Type the name of your category.
6. Click OK.
7. Repeat steps three through six for each category you want.

Next look to see if the word “Categories” appears at the top of your Inbox. If it does you can skip this section. If it doesn’t:

1. Click on “View” on the menu bar at the top of your screen.
2. Move your mouse down to “Current View.”
3. Click on “Customize Current View.”
4. Click on “Fields” in the box that pops up.
5. Click on the word “Categories” on the box on the left.
6. Click the “Add” button. “Categories” should now appear in the box on the right.
7. Click OK twice to get out of both boxes. The word “Categories” should now appear at the top of your Inbox.

Once you’re certain you have a Categories column in your Inbox, there are two ways to assign your messages to a category:

1. Click one time on a message in your Inbox that you’d like to assign to a category.
2. Click again on that colorful Categorize button at the top of your screen.
3. Click on the category you want.


Right click in the Categories column and click on the category you want.

Your messages might be much easier to find and prioritize once they’re categorized. Now let’s make assigning messages to categories a little easier. Choose your most important category or the one you use most often. For instance, my orange “work” category is my most important category and the one I use most often.

Let’s assign that category to a “Quick Click.” That way you don’t have to click on the Categorize button every time you want to assign a category to a message. You’ll only have to click once, and the color will pop up. To choose a Quick Click category:

1. Right click on any message in your Inbox.
2. Move your mouse down to the “Categorize” option and click on “Set Quick Click.”
3. Click on the dropdown arrow in the box that appear, and choose the category you want.
4. Click OK.
5. Now, every time you get a work-related email, click one time next to it in the category column. Your color should show up instantaneously!

Shortcut Keys

Another cool trick is to assign shortcut keys to your categories. Then all you have to do is hit a couple keys, and the color you choose will appear beside your message!

To assign shortcut keys:

1. Click on the colorful Categorize button at the top of your screen again.
2. Click on “All Categories.”
3. Put a checkmark by one of your categorize by clicking one time on the box beside it.
4. Click on the arrow next to the box under where it says “Shortcut Key.”
5. Click on one of the choices.
6. Click OK.
To use the shortcut keys:

1. Go to your Inbox if you’re not already in it.
2. Move your mouse arrow into the Categories column next to your message, but don’t click.
3. Hit the shortcut keys you choose. The colored squares should appear!

Lastly, to organize your Inbox by category, click one time on the word “Categories” above it. Click on “Categories” again if you want to display your categorized messages in reversed order.

That should do it! Have fun organizing your messages!

I’ve been a Computer Tutor for eight years. I teach remotely over the internet to people all over the United States. The cost for this service is $20 for each 15 minutes, with only a 15-minute minimum.

I teach Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Quicken, and ACT!, as well as all kinds of ways in general to help your computer make your life easier. I teach on both PCs and Macs.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *